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HSE West ordered to pay €70,000 to woman it discriminated against

The Employment Equality Tribunal ordered the HSE to pay almost the maximum in compensation to a woman it failed to suitably accommodate.

University Hospital Limerick
University Hospital Limerick
Image: Google Street View

THE EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY Tribunal has directed the HSE West to pay compensation of €70,000 to a woman with a bowel disorder.

The medical secretary has a debilitating illness and was not accommodated in an appropriate office, the tribunal found. Having worked at University Hospital Limerick since 2001, she was told in 2007 that she would have to move offices. This move made access to toilet facilities inconvenient.

This was a problem for the complainant because the symptoms of her condition mean that she requires access to a toilet quickly. As she was unable to comply with her new working conditions, she was placed on sick leave.

The tribunal was told that the secretary was accommodated in an office on her own in 2006, but was moved by a stand-in manager to an office with three other staff. This, the complainant said, caused her embarrassment due to acute attacks.

She was told about the move to the new office in 2007 just before she went on holiday.

The HSE said that the woman had contacted her trade union IMPACT, who initiated a grievance procedure. This led to the HSE offering the woman a late shift on the hospital’s reception desks.

The tribunal was told that this is not acceptable as both areas are very busy and public areas.  The tribunal agreed that it does not constitute “reasonable accommodation”.

On three grounds the HSE was ordered to pay €70,000 in redress as well as placing the woman in a suitable office.

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